Welcome to my stop on Nigel Jay Cooper’s The Pursuit Of Ordinary Blog Tour hosted by Roundfire Books. I have written a review to share with you all today. The Pursuit Of Ordinary was an exceptional read that is unique and faces a lot of modern cultural and societal issues head on. It was a pleasure to feature this book today and I hope you all enjoy the review enough to pick up The Pursuit Of Ordinary and give it a go. Thanks for coming by to support the blog tour and make sure to visit all the additional posts happening this week and next.
Sent To Me By Roundfire Books In Exchange For An Honest Review
27.04.2018 / Roundfire Books / Drama / Paperback / 320pp / 978-01785358067
Target Audience: Readers who enjoy drama, multiple perspectives, enigmatic characters and unique narrative choices.
About The Pursuit Of Ordinary
After witnessing a fatal car accident, a homeless man wanders the streets of Brighton, trying to ignore the new, incessant voice inside his head. But he can’t forget the crash, can’t get the face of the woman cradling her dying husband out of his mind. She stared into his eyes, his soul. He has to find her.
Is Dan ill or has he really been possessed by the spirit of Natalie’s dead husband, Joe? If he hasn’t, why does she let him into her home so easily? Does she have secrets of her own? The Pursuit of Ordinary is a twisting tale of modern life and mental health where nothing is what it seems…
Following the success of debut novel Beat the Rain, Roundfire introduces the second book from bestselling author Nigel Jay Cooper.
Nigel Jay Cooper’s The Pursuit Of Ordinary is a compelling drama novel that explores the fragility and unpredictable nature of the human psyche. I was amazed by the potency of the narrative that NJC has crafted here and the enormous twists and turns that accompany such a bold and daring plot. Casting a spotlight on both abuse and mental illness in a raw and meaningful way. When I started reading the novel I couldn’t see how NJC could pull off the narrative style he was aiming for but I have to applaud him for proving me wrong.
Young homeless Dan witnesses a car accident in which a husband dies in his wife’s arms. Soon after the accident Dan is possessed by the spirit of the woman’s husband Joe. Joe wants to see his wife Natalie again, to hold her and tell her that her beloved husband is still alive somehow. Dan/Joe arrive at Natalie’s door expecting the worst but she invites them in to hear this amazing story. The novel follows Dan/Joe and Natalie’s experience of this turn of events and the truth behind this unexpected arrival. Why would Natalie let Dan in when she should have called the police? Does she believe it is really Joe? Does she know why this could be happening? As the story unfolds and takes many harsh turns we begin to see a vivid picture of the truth and it was brilliant to experience.
It is definitely a ‘hats off’ moment to NJC for successfully developing a narrative that is partly told from the perspective of a freshly split personality. Dan has a complex history of mental health issues including Depersonalisation Disorder which is included effectively and the novel shines a bright light on the condition. NJC’s writing was the stand out feature of this novel. His character development, juggling 3 perspectives in 2 bodies was superb. He easily captures the frustration, adaptation and disorientation of broken minds. I got lost in the epic twists of why Dan believes he contains Joe and the plausibility of a situation like this and the unpredictable outcomes such a situation could lead to. NJC digs deep into harsh themes like marital abuse, bulimia, suicide, multi-personality disorder, true homelessness and the vulnerability of our minds. All included in a 300+ page novel but each in its own way.
Natalie is just as fascinating as Dan/Joe. As she deals with this mysterious man who honestly believes he is harbouring her dead husband, she has to confront the truth of her own choices. I don’t usually go for pure dramas as they bore me easily but this was another level of thought meets reality. The story is told in a sort of overlapping episodic style where we see both sides of what is happening. There was plenty of ‘Nooos!’, ‘Whaaaaats?’ and ‘Bloody Hells!’ from me. I know I make this sound kind of heavy but it flows really well and there are charming, loving and amusing moments to be had on top of everything else. I was impressed by how much The Pursuit Of Ordinary taught me about mental health. It more importantly reminded me about the critical value of viewing everyone around us as the individuals they are with their own lives, problems and directions. It is easy to judge or assume but it more beneficial to stop and listen, to help, to learn and to participate.
I can’t recommend The Pursuit Of Ordinary enough to all readers as it is a vital read that aims to break some of the misconceptions/reflexes we have stored in the back of our minds. Mental Illness effects us all so take the time to spare a thought for those who are dealing with it right now. Nigel Jay Cooper is trying to break the mould on approaching mental health and the consequences of a mental breakdown; he is doing a great job. Pick up The Pursuit Of Ordinary and put yourself in Dan and Natalie’s shoes.
About Nigel Jay Cooper
Writer and author, born in London, England. He now lives in Brighton (via Nottingham) with his partner, their two children and greying ginger dog. He co-founded global social media agency Qube Media and previously worked as a writer and editor for Channel 4 Television. He’s a sometime marathon runner and occasional actor and singer in local musical theatre productions. Sometimes his brain switches off and lets him sleep, but not that often. Nigel’s first novel Beat the Rain has quickly become a bestseller on Roundfire Books and was Semi-Finalist in the Goodreads Choice Awards 2016 for Best Debut Author.